Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vegan Taco “Meat” Filling

Here is the recipe I use when I want a faux meat taco filling. The general technique, with slight flavor tweaks, is also useful for other recipes that call for flavorful ground meat fillings, such as for stuffed vegetables like bell peppers or ragu fillings for lasagna or moussaka. By the way, you could use a commercial taco seasoning mix if you can find a vegan version instead of the spices I have listed if you like.

Vegan faux meat taco filling

Vegan Taco “Meat”

1 Tbsp oil (can use more for extra richness if you like)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped onion
Any other sauté-able veggies that you want, such as bell peppers or mushrooms
½ tsp soy sauce (optional)

1 cup TVP, reconstituted in 1 cup water or veggie broth
12 to 16 oz of your favorite ground meat substitute (see note*)

1 cup tomato sauce ( may need less for alternate meat subs)

Spices (feel free to double):
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional heat in the form of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

cooking the onion and garlic
Saute the garlic and onion (and optional veggies) in the oil until softened and lightly browned. Adding a bit of salt or soy sauce at this point will speed up the process a little; it’s up to you. Meanwhile, reconstitute your TVP in water or broth or otherwise prep your alternative ground meat substitute as necessary—some require thawing, precooking or soaking. When you’re ready, dump your TVP/meat sub into the sauté pan with the veggies and start browning. Add in the spices at this point too.
Taco Spices

After a few minutes, things should be looking pretty dry and a bit browned. Stir in tomato sauce, using more or less depending on whether you want the final product to be saucy or dry, and also on which meat sub you using (lentils and TVP tend to suck up more liquid than others).

 Cook a few minutes more, until you have reached your desired consistency. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Stuff into a tortilla with some beans and salsa and enjoy.

*Note on ground meat substitutes: your options are actually quite extensive here. Effective vegan ground meat substitutes include (but are not limited to): TVP, coarsely mashed cooked lentils or beans, bulgur, shredded or chopped seitan, crumbled tempeh, crumbled veggie burgers, commercial ground fake meat products or any combination thereof. If you try all of these you will probably develop a preference, based on flavor or nutrition. My favorite for crumbly applications such as this is TVP granules, re-hydrated in warm water for five minutes. I like how cheap and low sodium they are. You can season the re-hydrating water for added flavor, by the way.  For firm, shaped applications such as meatballs or meatloaf, my favorite is mashed lentils, particularly mixed 2 to 1 with bulgur or TVP. Commercial products are also very convenient; that’s what I have pictured here today. FYI, if you happen to have fake meats lying around that are shaped like cutlets or sausage links, etc., instead of ground, you can always chop them up finely and use them instead. 

Piping hot and ready to be stuffed into a taco

1 comment:

  1. This is a good alternative to taco spice mix envelopes, which are hard to find vegan & free of MSG. Great!